Docs

CNN+ to debut Joanne Woodward-Paul Newman doc from Ethan Hawke

CNN+ will premiere The Last Movie Stars, a new documentary from actor/director Ethan Hawke about the relationship between legendary actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, when the streaming service launches ...
January 11, 2022

CNN+ will premiere The Last Movie Stars, a new documentary from actor/director Ethan Hawke about the relationship between legendary actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, when the streaming service launches later this year.

The film, which is presented in six chapters, is being made for CNN Films and HBO Max, where it will also be available following its CNN+ premiere. Famed filmmaker Martin Scorsese is on board as an executive producer.

Central to the film is an abandoned project commissioned by Newman from his friend, screenwriter Stewart Stern. Stern interviewed Elia Kazan, Sidney Lumet, Karl Malden, Sydney Pollack, Gore Vidal, Jacqueline Witte, Woodward and others for a planned memoir, as well as Newman himself.

In addition to archival interviews with Woodward and Newman, the doc features actors Karen Allen, George Clooney, Oscar Isaac, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Zoe Kazan, Laura Linney, Sam Rockwell and others voicing segments of the original transcribed interviews. Hawke also interviews several of Newman’s daughters, as well as Sally Field, Melanie Griffith and Scorsese.

The project began when one of Woodward’s and Newman’s daughters approached Hawke about making a documentary about the couple. Hawke, who had previously directed the feature doc Seymour: An Introduction, boarded the project as director.

“Exploring Woodward and Newman through their 50-year love affair has proven more rewarding than I could have imagined. Their work, philanthropy, and lives serve as a kind of North Star, illuminating what a substantive, meaningful life can look like,” said Hawke in a statement.

“Ethan’s brilliant vision illuminates what fascinates us about Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman in a film worthy of their talents and passions,” added Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide. “We look forward to sharing this unique, multi-chapter story with CNN+ subscribers.”

The Last Movie Stars is produced by Emily Wachtel and Lisa Long Adler of Nook House Productions, Ryan Hawke of Under the Influence Productions, and Adam Gibbs, with Mario Andretti co-producing.  Along with Scorsese, Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton exec produce for CNN Films.

The deal for The Last Movie Stars was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, senior vice president of business affairs, and Kelly MacLanahan, assistant general counsel, both for CNN Worldwide, on behalf of CNN Films and CNN+. Marc Simon of Fox Rothschild LLP handled negotiations for Nook House Productions and Cinetic Media advised the filmmakers. CNN Films retains streaming and broadcast rights.

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